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Microsoft Ad Campaign Stirs Wrath of Blogosphere

Gates and Seinfeld
nibble churros and chat

Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which won Microsoft's $300 million creative account in February, has released its debut ad in an anticipated campaign featuring Jerry Seinfeld.

The minute-and-a-half-long spot went live yesterday and depicts Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld meeting at a fictional discount store called Shoe Circus. Quirky small-talk is exchanged.

Computers are not mentioned for over a minute, at which point Seinfeld asks whether Microsoft ever intends to launch PCs that are "moist and chewy like cake." Gates wiggles his trousers in response, then the ad cuts to a tagline: "The future. Delicious," followed by the brief appearance of a Microsoft logo.

Seinfeld's participation in this campaign cost $10 million alone, according to MacRumors. High anticipation for the campaign, coupled with the ad's failure to establish the merits of Microsoft products, drew scrutiny from technology and ad bloggers.

The spot was also compared to a years-old American Express effort featuring Seinfeld: "It's kinda like Seinfeld's really long, really rambling Superman ad for Amex he did a few years back. We hope the rest of the campaign is better," Gizmodo wrote.

Other blogs painted it as a direct rip off AmEx's work. "Seems eerily similar to the work done for American Express with Jerry Seinfeld," wrote blogger Adam Kmiec with a note of sarcasm, posting the ads together so readers could compare them.

In a letter to Microsoft employees, SVP Bill Veghte said the campaign's intention is to "engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows.

"Think of these ads as an icebreaker to reintroduce Microsoft to viewers in a consumer context," Veghte opined. "[As] the campaign moves into its next phase, we'll go much deeper in telling the Windows story and celebrating what it can do for consumers at work, at play and on-the-go."

TechCrunch has a complete copy of Veghte's letter.

Whatever their stance, most bloggers can agree the ad succeeded in sparking a new conversation. The campaign's "next phase" is expected to appear in a month's time.

Agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky is typified by its offbeat work. One of its major successes includes the ongoing Burger King campaign featuring The King, a silent mascot in a large plastic mask.

But not all its oddball efforts strike happy chords. Last year Crispin lost the ConAgra Foods account after trying to reanimate the late Orville Redenbacher in a popcorn ad — a campaign that was also panned by bloggers.


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